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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Gotta Love the 'Loin

Here's another one, this one from the SFGate.  I still skim their "Top O' the Bay" newsletter, to keep up with what's happening with our city by the Bay:

TOP O' THE BAY -- Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Edited by Chad Rockwell
For the latest updates, visit SFGate.


Landmark bank in the Tenderloin eyed as a potential cultural center.

This headline caught my eye, b/c the Hibernia bank building certainly caught my eye.  I thought that perhaps I'd even taken a snapshot of it during one of the handful of times I walked that sketchy stretch of Market, in between the Powell St cable car turnaround and the Civic Center.  The Hibernia is emblematic of that whole area--you wonder why this most central part of the city, of the entire Bay Area, is as sketched out as it is.  But that's partly why you gotta love SF.

(It doesn't seem that I did take such a photo.  At least it's not among my photos I tagged with "tenderloin.")

What really motivated me to post this link is what has to be the quote of the day:

David Jackson, executive director of the Bay Area Radio Museum, toured the building Tuesday with city officials, laying out his vision for a cultural arts center that would house music, sports and broadcasting museums, along with training facilities for dance, art and filmmaking.

Efforts to revitalize the distinctive building at the intersection of Jones and Market streets have stumbled in the past, though, often because of the owner's steep asking price for a property in an edgy neighborhood.

The Hibernia, with its soaring columns and domed entrance, has sat empty since 2000, when the San Francisco Police Department's Tenderloin Task Force left after nine years for a new $4.8 million station on Eddy Street, saying the Hibernia was ill-suited for police work and the rent too expensive.

That left the landmark to descend into a haven for public drinking, drug dealing and street urination four blocks from City Hall.

"That is an important part of the city," Jackson said, "and I saw a guy smoking crack out of another guy's shoe."

I can't claim the street cred of witnessing someone smoking crach out of another guy's shoe..but over the course of 3 years I certainly did see various drugs being dealt, smoked and injected--in the 'Loin, around 16th & Mission, on 6th St.

When it comes to that sort of "edginess", SF has NYC (or at least Manhattan) beat by a mile.  From today's vantage point, it's hard to imagine the East Village/Lower East Side with that kind of squalor, as it apparently had, in the not-too-distant past..

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